Highlights XXV IMRC 2016

Symposium Organizers have provided the following highlights.

Symposium A4: Hybrid and Bio-Inspired Plasmonic Materials

Symposium Organizers:
Cecilia Noguez/Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), México
Alexander Govorov/Ohio University, USA
Ana L. González/Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México

Symposium A4 ran one and half days and had four oral sessions and one poster session. The Symposium was very active and well attended. Every lecture or talk received at least a few questions.  The audience was very involved and interested in the topics. The evening poster session was also very successful, in which senior lecturers met and discussed with several young presenters.  During the Symposium on hybrid nanomaterials, a few currently active research directions were addressed and highlighted. The first session was on different uses of plasmonic materials for enhanced optical phenomena. Plasmonic lattices can be used to design plasmonic lasers in which plasmons create both localization and enhancement of coherent emission.  Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering was the subject of the sequential talks in which the Raman phenomenon was combined with photonic and supra- crystals. The next, well represented topic was optical and plasmonic chirality of nanomaterials and atomic clusters. Important examples of chiral nanomaterials are plasmonic bio-assemblies made with the DNA origami approach, lateral chiral metastructures with deposited chiral molecules, and semiconductor quantum dots with chiral ligands.  Another important class of chiral nanoscale systems involves atomic clusters, small nanoparticles and twisted bilayer graphene. The talks comprehensively covered this direction giving both experimental and theoretical descriptions. The theory talks included both macroscopic and atomistic models of chirality. Another interesting topic during the first was the localized photo-heating effect in plasmonic metamaterials. On the second day, the audience received a few lectures on:  Aluminum plasmonics that is a very promising approach for the UV-light applications, effective media theory for 3D metacrystals, the creation and use of upconverting nanoparticles for bio- and energy applications, and concave gold nanocubes as good SERS substrates. Overall, it was a very productive and active Symposium with creation of new ideas and new collaborations and connections.

Symposium A8: Silicon based nanoscale optoelectronic devices

Symposium Organizers:
Karim Monfil Leyva/ Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México
Ana Luz Muñoz Zurita/ Universidad Politécnica Metropolitana de Puebla, México
Alfredo Morales Sánchez/ Centro de Investigación en Materiales Avanzados S.C., México
Carlos Domínguez/ Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica, Spain

Silicon-based nanostructured devices have been fabricated for more than 40 decades in the optoelectronic industry. This novel symposium was focused on experiments and theories currently researched to manipulate the indirect band gap of Silicon and overcome this disadvantage for better control on optical properties. The contributions were shared by worldwide experts on theoretical and experimental insights of solid state phenomena, starting from synthesis of nanostructured silicon based materials, followed by in situ treatments and characterization, and finally development and testing of optoelectronic devices.

This novel symposium has gathered by the first time experts on Si-crystalline solar cells like Dr. Yasuhiro Matsumoto from Solid State Electronics Section at CINVESTAV, Mexico and Dr. Mario Moreno from Electronics Department at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics, Mexico; experts on development of electronic devices like Prof. Monuko Du Plesis from Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering of University of Pretoria, South Africa and Dr. Roberto C. Ambrosio from Electronics Sciences Faculty at Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, Mexico; and experts on the formation, synthesis and control of Si-nanocrystals or Quantum Dots like Prof. Tetyana V. Torchynska of ESFM at the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico and Dra. Sarah Rupich from Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas. There were important contributions on LECS and sensors from young researchers like Santiago A. Cabañas from CIMAV, Monterrey, Mexico and Dr. Mario A. Curiel of the Engineering Institute of the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico. Also, interesting studies on porous and nanostructured Silicon were presented at poster session by Dra. Estela Gómez from the Science Institute at the Benemerita Universidad Autonoma de Puebla; Erasto Vergara from UPIIH-IPN, Pachuca, México and María A. Cardona from CIMAV, Monterrey, México. Symposium A8 Organizers believe that invited speakers have shared relevant studies, experiments and theories that give all attendees an important insight on the development of optoelectronic devices based on Silicon nanostructured meanwhile poster presentations have showed novel studies, techniques, applications and testing of Si related materials.

Symposium B.7: Solar Fuels/Artificial Photosynthesis: Materials and Devices

Symposium Organizers:
Hector A. Calderon/ ESFM-IPN, Mexico
Francesca Maria Toma /JCAP, LBNL Berkeley Ca. USA
Chengxiang Xiang/JCAP, California Institute of Technology, USA.


Energy production from renewable sources is currently one of the most important challenges. A reliable source of energy is needed to plaque the huge demand and prevent the continuing combustion of fossil fuels generating hazardous emissions of pollutants to the atmosphere. Increasing the CO2 levels in atmosphere will also have adverse effects on the climate change. Being the sun the largest available energy source, the quest is to find a reliable, inexpensive and robust method to convert the solar energy into some form of storable and inexpensive fuels (i.e., artificial photosynthesis). Thus this symposium is focused on materials, assemblies of them and devices that capture the solar light and, through appropriate mechanisms, can for example decompose water into oxygen and hydrogen or reduce CO2 into a useful light hydrocarbons.  The symposium consisted of 30 oral presentations and 17 poster presentations that encompass topics from studies of fundamental reaction mechanisms, materials discoveries to computational modeling and prototype demonstrations.

For example, in the fundamental science topics, new materials synthetic approaches for artificial photosynthesis will be introduced by Dr. Lionel Vayssieres. Then, with a focus ultrafast spectroscopy, Dr. James Durrant will talk about charge carrier dynamics for photoelectrochemical water splitting, and Dr. Tanja Cuk will describe nascent catalytic intermediates at the semiconductor/aqueous interface. In addition, Dr. Christian Kisielowski will present recent results on structures and surfaces of catalytic nanocrystals using electron-microscopy without perturbing the native atomic arrangements of the nanostructures. Finally, Dr. David Tiede will introduce the use of in-situ X-ray techniques to achieve atomic scale characterization of both heterogeneous and molecular catalysts during photochemical function. Dr. Sean Fackler will discuss high-throughput characterization of mixed metal oxides using NEXAFS for solar-fuel applications. 

In the device engineering topics, Dr. Adam Weber will give a presentation on recent development of a multi-physics, continuum model to guide the materials discovery and prototype developments at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), Dr. Todd Deutsch will described inverted metamorphic muti-junction III-V semiconductors for high efficient solar-driven water-splitting device, and Dr. Joshua Spurgeon will discuss implementation and demonstration of solar-driven water-splitting devices using seawater vapor.

The materials and devices to achieve such a goal are being developed all over the world and this symposium aims to bring all interested researchers for discussions on the subject. Among the relevant materials are photovoltaics, catalysts for the different involved chemical reactions, porous materials, zeolites, nanostructured and microstructured arrays and assemblies of such materials, thin film arrays, etc. Their corresponding synthesis and characterization are among the preferred topics of this symposium. As for devices, their performance in light capturing or catalysis is also welcome to participate. Other approaches to transform the sunlight into a useful storable fuel are also relevant to the topic, as for example surface plasmons to activate catalysis for water splitting.

Symposium C4: Harnessing Surface Topography and Mechanics to Control Cellular Response

Symposium Organizers:
Fabio Variola/ University of Ottawa, Canada
Antonio Nanci/ Université de Montréal, Canada
Fernando Navarro-Garcia/ Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico

A growing number of studies has been exploring the role of micro and nanostructured surfaces on cellular and bacterial response. It is now well known that adhering cells including bacteria sense and respond to the substrate’s topography at various scales. In the case of mammalian cells, these are also significantly affected by surface mechanics and nanoscale cell deformations. The symposium featured recent advances on how mammalian cells and bacteria respond to surfaces. A particular emphasis was given to the effects of the topographical environment, both at the micro and nanoscale, as well as on the events that ultimately dictate cell fate, including cell deformation and shape, development of adhesion structures and gene expression. The invited speakers, world renowned scientists in the field, presented during the morning of August 15th 2016, in the following order and about the following subjects: Dr. Thomas Webster (Northeastern University, USA) on commercialization of nanomedicine, Dr. Caroline Hoemann (École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada) on peptide-based strategies for polymeric scaffolds to promote in vitro osteogenesis, Dr. Ketul Popat (Colorado State University, USA) on how to control the immune response via surface nanoengineering, Dr. Elena Martinez (IBEC, Spain) on novel approaches to engineer platforms for receptor clustering studies and Dr. Diego Mantovani (uLaval, Canada) on cellularised collagen-based scaffolds for cardiovascular applications.

Invited talks were followed by regular oral presentations, which covered a variety of subjects ranging from surface-bacteria interactions to nanomaterials for cancer and tissue engineering applications.

In conclusion, symposium organizers believe all participants who attended the symposium C4 have benefited from the invited speakers experience and expertise as shared during the program.


Symposium D.2 Advances in Cement and Concrete Research

Symposium Organizers:
Luis Emilio Rendón Díaz Mirón/Universidad Internacional (UNINTER) de Cuernavaca. México.
Iván Escalante García/CINVESTAV. México.
Homero Jesús Montaño Román/ Centro de Tecnología Cemento y Concreto de CEMEX (CTCC). México.

At today requirements concrete is a durable and sustainable material widely used for both buildings and infrastructure. When properly designed and constructed, it can resist severe storms and earthquakes, as well as aggressive environments, nonetheless, concrete is a brittle material, but reinforced with steel bars (reinforced concrete) or with pre-stressed tendons (pre-stressed concrete) greatly expands its applicability. Furthermore, its importance as a building material is due to its structural, physical, and chemical properties, and its economics. In one’s hands, concrete is a sentient entity, capable of creating amazing forms while providing the most resistant structures. It is a material that has been able to remain throughout the modern history of mankind. Concrete compensates that it may seem an awkward material for an age with today's scientific advances. In fact, all concrete may seem the same. Certainly, the basic product remains the same and has remained unchanged since its invention. Nonetheless, concrete properties depend largely on the quantity and quality of components, including Portland cement. The selection, use, and constituents of components are important to design appropriately, and as economically as possible, the desired characteristics of any particular type of concrete. Furthermore, most of the research presented in this symposium is oriented to obtain greater durability, newest a desirable properties throughout the use of new additives and new cementitious materials.


Symposium D.3: Aeronautical and aerospace processes, materials and industrial applications

Symposium Organizers:
Patricia Zambrano Robledo / Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. México
Armando Salinas Rodríguez / CINVESTAV Unidad Saltillo. México
Lessa Kay Grunenfelder / University of Southern California. USA


The aeronautical and aerospace materials and processes nowadays have an important impact around the world. In Mexico the aeronautical industry has achieved an important growth since 2009 and this trend is expected to be double in 2020. This specific symposium has gathered important experimentalists and theoreticians in this type of industry. Dr. Ruben García Montoya from Testia Airbus Group one of the invited speakers has an extensive experience in aerospace and petrochemical industries; he has 35 years of experience in aerospace industry and has participated in 32 audits from NADCAP. Dr. García has obtained ASNT, Honeywell and Rolls Royce certifications. Another invited speaker was Dr. Isaac H. Jiménez who has an extensive experience in the aerospace industry; he is an advance manufacturing engineer manager from Honeywell aerospace; Professor Carlos G. Levy was another invited speaker from the University of California in Santa Barbara. His current areas of work include thermal and environmental barrier coatings for advanced gas turbine components, fibers and environmentally robust matrices for CMCs, novel high temperature alloys and multi-phase functional materials. This symposium combined the experience of invited speakers and the oral presentations of professors and students from several universities through different sessions. The first day of the symposium was assigned to High temperature surface engineering and process modeling, and in the second day; the sessions were referred to the Safety considerations and societal impact and corrosion in aeronautical industry. This program had 16 poster presentations and more than 30 oral presentations.

In conclusion, symposium organizers believe that all participants who attended the symposium “D.3 Aeronautical and aerospace processes, materials and industrial applications” obtained more knowledge and expertise with the entire program presented.


Symposium D.5: Materials in Nuclear Science and Technology

Symposium Organizers:
Angeles del C. Díaz Sánchez / Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares. México
Ma. Magdalena Cruz Gris / Central Laguna Verde. México
Anna Hojna / CVR (Centrun Vyzkumu Rez). Czech Republic.

From the 23rd IMRC held in 2014 and as part of the new topics incorporated into this great Materials Congress came a Symposium specifically focused on Materials in Nuclear Science and Technology, which has allowed for fostering discussions about the importance and continuity of Research and Development in materials and fuels, not only for the Renaissance of Nuclear Energy but also for areas such as Dosimetry and New Detectors, where materials with tailored microstructures and properties are needed in order to achieve and maintain their desired performance under very demanding conditions.

This year during the IMRC 2016, we were pleased to receive presentations from different countries: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Spain, the US and Mexico, which were organized into sessions divided into three specific subtopics:

• Metallurgical, mechanical and electrochemical studies in nuclear materials,
• Coating and cladding in conventional and advanced reactors and
• Concrete structures and shields for nuclear applications and radiation detectors.

Under the first subtopic, presentations on stress corrosion cracking in nickel-based alloys, austenitic stainless steels and the importance of cold work and microstructures in the behavior of the components in services were emphasized. Furthermore, in the symposium, we had the opportunity to listen to presentations on materials such as tungsten-based foils (possible candidates for manufacturing components in the new generation of reactors or fusion reactors) and expositions related to the study of fuels like TRISO and nanocrystalline tungsten coatings with yttrium content that have shown an improvement in irradiation tolerance. Proposals were presented to use thermal-resistant ceramic materials with good neutronic behavior such as Hi-Nicalon Type S to be used as fuel cladding. Likewise, equipment designed to simulate the reactions of cladding materials during a specific and controlled condition were presented.

In our last session, the condition assessment of concrete structures turned out to be a very important issue, especially considering the life extension in nuclear power plants. The use of new shielding materials for X-rays and gamma radiations like blast furnace slag-polyester blends was presented, as were new studies about the thermoluminescence behavior of materials such as nano-hydroxyapatite. In addition, the feasibility of II-IV and oxides for flexible and transparent devices and novel radiation sensors was discussed. Finally, the audience identified the existence of two ion accelerators which form part of the experimental infrastructure available in Mexico. 

All these contributions are, themselves, a good example of the importance of the materials in the development of science and nuclear applications, for which, as symposium organizers, the only thing left to do is to thank all of the attendees for their valuable participation, and we are looking forward to future collaborations.


Symposium E.3: Emerging Materials Properties and Pre normative Standardisation,

Symposium Organizers:
Yoshito Mitani/ Centro Nacional de Metrología, México
Sam Gnaniah/National Physical Laboratory, UK
Richard Cavanagh/National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA
Alberto Herrera/CINVESTAV Querétaro, México

The Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS) organized Symposium E3 for the first time under the format of IMRC 2016, in which 25 oral presentations and 6 posters were accepted. The main contributions were provided by institutions responsible for technical standardization by establishing measurements, reference materials and standards and universities from VAMAS member countries.  The presentations addressed some of the recent results or preliminary studies of proposals of collaboration on pre-standards measurement research, intercomparisons and validation of test results on key properties that have priority needs for standardization.  Some presentations contained results of recommendations to the standards development organizations, thereby fostering the development of internationally agreed and workable standards for advanced and emerging materials.  The sessions were organized into 5 topics: Surface and property characterization of emerging materials, Materials data, Uncertainties and reliability in measurements, Characterizing emerging nanocomposites and nanocomponents, Next generation electronics and energy materials: Measurement challenges and Measurement opportunities in emerging materials.  

Properties and emerging materials focused on were work function of electronic materials, CO2 adsorption quantification, nanostructure characterization of SWNT, photovoltaic solar cells, graphene, cellulose nano-crystals, energy conversion sensors and organic semiconductors and devices, the presentations highlighted current and future standardization needs.

Measurement challenges using the techniques of Raman spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, SEM, and XPS were discussed. Interoperability, comparability and reliability of large datasets were also discussed.  Fruitful discussions among participants set the stage for the VAMAS Steering Committee meeting which followed the symposium, where future projects were discussed.

Previous to the Symposium, Prof. Sims gave a talk on the activities of VAMAS to the IMRC participants, inviting them to participate in the VAMAS programs of standardization initiatives.


Symposium E.5: Texture and Microstructure.

Symposium Organizers:
Francisco Cruz Gandarilla / Instituto Politécnico Nacional. México.
Raúl Bolmaro / Rosario Institute of Physics. Argentina.
Claude Esling / Laboratoire d’Etude des Microstructures et de Mécanique des Matériaux and Laboratory of Excellence on Design of Alloy Metals for Low-Mass Structures. France.
Stuart Wright / EDAX. USA

Symposium E.5 consisted of 13 invited talks, 17 regular talks and 2 poster presentations over a two-day period.

The first day consisted of presentations on the thematic of Recrystallization, Deformation and Substructure, magnesium with a focus on better understanding of both, slip and twinning and magnesium-aluminum and biphasic interphase HCP/BCC ARB sandwich structures.

The second day interest was focused on Deformation & Substructure, Unique Applications, Technical Developments in Data Acquisition and Processing.

The high level of the talks was remarkable, in special the invited talks given by specialists of world renown. As part of the symposium two tutorials: Rietveld Texture/Stress Analysis by Diffraction using MAUD and Texture Analysis and Electron Backscatter Diffraction, were taught, with numerous attendees.

In conclusion, symposium organizers believe all participants who attended the symposium E.5 Texture and Microstructure have benefited from the different activities in the symposium, in particular from invited talks given by speakers with a remarkable experience and expertise in the topics of Texture and Microstructure.


Symposium F.6: The 7th International Workshop for R&D clustering among Mexico and Korea in Ecomaterials Processing

Symposium Organizers:
Isaias Juárez Ramírez/Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. México.
Leticia M. Torres-Martínez/ Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. México.
Soo Wohn Lee/ Sun Moon University.Korea.


Symposium F.6 was dedicated to the “7th International Workshop for R&D clustering among Mexico and Korea in Ecomaterials Processing” and chaired by Prof. Ramírez and Prof. Torres-Martínez (Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León) and by Prof. Lee (Sun Moon University). The workshop celebrated its ten years of existence and consequent strengthening of the scientific links and relations between Mexico and Korea. The chairs auspicated the development of even stronger collaborations in the future, which would be able to tackle more effectively global environmental issues - from global warming, to energy production, to water pollution.

The opening talk addressed many of these problems in highlighting the environmental, health and economic issues brought about by the unnatural growth of algae in aquatic systems. While currently existing solutions are either invasive, or too expensive, or present long-lasting effects on the ecosystem, photocatalysis shows promising results for both green-blue and red algae, as well as for the bacterium Escherichia Coli.

In fact, several talks and posters depicted photocatalysis as an effective answer for the removal of pollutant (bacteria, pharmaceutical compounds and especially nitro-aromatic compounds) from water. Moreover, photocatalysis was presented as a practical way of harvesting light for the production of energy in a process comparable to an artificial photosynthesis. Outstanding results were achieved using the traditional TiO2 and ZnO as well as TiB2, TiC, TiN, ZnFe22O4, Zn2TiO4, Na2Ti6O13, KBiO3, LaFeO3, SrZrO3 and hybrid PbMoO4/g-C3N4 composites. Catalysts were synthesized using a wide variety of methods, ranging from solvo-combustion to sonochemical synthesis using volcanic ashes as naturally porous substrate.

Oxides were the protagonists of several talks about the development of thin films and transparent conductive materials. Their importance for the construction of flexible devices and intelligent bandages was highlighted: plasma press was proposed as solution for improving materials adhesion. Nanoparticles and hollow nanofibers were used to achieve chemiresistor sensors responding to CO gas.

A second part of the symposium focused on functional and structural materials: from the development of dielectric layers for new-generation capacitors, to nanostructured or passivated OLED for light extraction, to metal alloys. In the latter, in particular, the peculiar high-temperature features of High-Entropy Alloys containing first-raw metals were explored. Finally, the application of metal foams for noise reduction, electro-magnetic shielding and energy absorption was highlighted.